I Never Knew Picking Out Potty Training Underwear Would be So Complicated

So I guess we are all in — no turning back now. After Spencer’s success on the potty yesterday, I wanted to keep the momentum going. This morning after breakfast I put him on the bowl after he started whining that he had to “make poopy! I make poopy!” but no luck. Still he tried, and I’m hoping that he will begin to associate that feeling with going to the bathroom.

We are also now the proud owners of 14 pairs of “big boy” potty training underwear, as we went shopping this morning. That was quite the trip. Since it was just Spencer and me, and I didn’t need a lot, I decided to let him walk. Our destination was Kohl’s. Next door a brand-new Petco was celebrating their grand opening. Outside was someone dressed in a big red dog costume as part of the festivities, so of course we had to go say hello and give hugs. We wound up going inside and saying hello to the real dogs, which was a lot of fun.

Up until we met with those furry, four-legged friends, Spencer was really enthused about going to pick out some potty training underwear. When it was time to go, he was not as thrilled with our original plan for the day. “DOGGIES! I NO SAY GOODBYE TO DOGGY! I STAY WITH DOGGY!” Eventually we made it next door and lo and behold, what were they selling for $5 right on display in the front of the store? Stuffed Clifford the Big Red Dog dolls. Score! Everyone was once again happy.

We headed back to the underwear department, our new cartoon friend in tow, all set to browse. Spencer had a big decision to make. In his size they had Mickey Mouse and friends big boy underwear, Sesame Street big boy underwear, super hero big boy underwear and Cars big boy underwear. You can see why he’d get overwhelmed. Not to mention he was very interested in the Elmo and Zoe big girl underwear, wanting those instead. I think it’s because the package was much brighter than the boy one, with lots of cheerful colors. We had quite the debate over it. Let’s just say it took us a long time to get out of that department.

Once he decided (Cars and Sesame Street — the boy kind), we headed back to the register. I was happy because he no longer wanted to hold Clifford, but his underwear instead. That’s a good sign, right? And when it was our turn to pay, he proudly put one of the packages on the register counter.

We haven’t put the potty training underwear on him just yet. We went to the park after our shopping excursion and then came home and ate lunch. We have a full afternoon planned when he wakes up from his nap, so I suspect we won’t try them on until tomorrow, when things are calmer.

Let’s hope he doesn’t mind that they aren’t pink, but blue instead.

How does your toddler like his potty training underwear?


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Toddler Potty Training — Exciting, But Not for Facebook

My favorite type of blog post to write are the milestone-based ones. Not only does the story tell itself, but it means we are celebrating something (most of the timeimportant in Spencer’s life. This post, my friends, is definitely celebratory in nature, no doubt.




Woot! How tempted was I to make that my Facebook status? Incredibly, but then I realized I’d probably lose about 96 percent of my friends so I held back. (You are welcome my high school class of 1992.)


I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am that our toddler potty training efforts are finally getting somewhere. For the past week or so he’s sat on the potty, but nothing else. Just a lot of sitting and a lot of eating of the reward M&Ms we use to bribe, er…coax him onto the bowl.


Not today though. He had woken up from his nap dry, so I sensed it would be a good time to once more try some toddler potty training. Not as easy as it sounds, he’s not always on board with our toddler potty training initiative and immediately post-nap, even less so.


Still, even though he was fussing, he remained on the seat while I turned on the faucet and hoped for the best. Not a minute had passed when I felt some wetness on my leg. He was going! On the potty! Sort of! He had lost his positioning a little bit as he was squirming around on the seat, which caused his plumbing to become misaligned, but we quickly righted everything and he finished up the right way.


I was yelling praises, C. and A. were dancing and he was completely confused. Now, a few hours later, he will proudly tell you that he made “pee pee on potty, I big boy,” and show off the red Hot Wheels motorcycle he chose as a prize. (We are actually recycling all of C.’s toddler potty training rewards for Spencer. I must have a bin of over 200 cars that we gave to C. when he met with potty training success. Now it’s Spencer’s turn to earn them.)


While I’m not certain he completely understood what was going on, I’m hoping he’ll remember what happened and how it felt. I don’t want to push him, but I feel like he’s a smart enough kid to grasp the concept, he just needs to be ready. I told him that we would go shopping for underwear this weekend and he seems enthusiastic, asking for Elmo ones.

And yet another fun Facebook status update passes me by.

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Toddler Manners — Not An Oxymoron!

The words are loud and direct (and the speaker is clearly annoyed):

“CHA CHA! CHA CHA GIB (give) IT TO ME! I HAB (have) IT! CHA CHA GIB IT TO ME NOW!” (Pause. Long pause. Very loooooonnnnngggg pause.) “Please!”

Spencer is working on his toddler manners. In the above example, he was asking big brother C. for a book. How do you think he’s doing?

Honestly? That he’s even aware of the word “please” makes me happy. At this point if his toddler manners are accompanied by a lot of shouting, that’s OK. At least he’s trying.

Spencer is actually a fairly polite kid. For a long time now, he has been saying “Welcome” after one of us sneezes. And he will randomly say “thank you” for no real reason. Lately though, as we are working on his bad case of the toddler “gimmees,” we’ve been introducing toddler manners to him.

It’s a process for sure. Earlier today, C. was eating ice cream and Spencer wanted some. Badly. His first attempt at toddler manners were non-existent. He was hitting C. and shouting at him and seriously, giving the concept of the terrible twos a run for their money. After I scolded him, I told him the question I wanted him to ask:

“C.? May I have some ice cream please?”

He actually did a really good job at repeating it. In response, C. rewarded him for his efforts. I thought maybe he had learned his lesson.

Yeah, not so much.

The second attempt was the same as the first — lots of hitting, lots of shouting, lots of “GIB ICE CREAM TO ME!” Same with the third and the fourth “requests.” By the fifth time I was pretty convinced that implementing toddler manners was going to be a near impossible task. And then, without prompting:

“C. you gib me ice cream. Pleeeeease?”

Hooray! The problem is of course, is that ice cream is not an never-ending treat and C. soon came to the end of the container. Spencer didn’t understand.

“Sorry buddy,” C. said. “The ice cream is all gone!”

“No.,” Spencer said stubbornly. “You gib me ice cream. PLEASE.”

“Sorry Spencer,” C. said, showing Spencer the empty carton.

“No all gone. PLEASE.”

This went on for a good minute before I finally intervened. (I might have been laughing a little.)

I guess the next lesson after toddler manners will have to be in three-dimensional spaces.

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Sadly Saying Goodbye to Family Summer Fun

I have a confession to make.

I was not looking forward to C.’s and A.’s summer vacation. At all. In fact, I’d venture to say I was dreading it. Dreading. It.

Who says such terrible things? They’re my kids! I’m their mother! I love them! I should be so grateful to be spending a huge chunk of time with them. Not to mention, they worked really hard all year, keeping up some pretty awesome grades, participating in numerous after-school activities and just being all-around good kids. They deserved some family summer fun!

And yet, as June 24 inched closer and closer on the calendar the pit in my stomach grew deeper and deeper.

I guess it was becuase it was my perception that the long school break isn’t always family summer fun. In fact, for me it is usually a lot of work. My kids are great, but they aren’t the best at keeping themselves entertained. In fact, they are pretty terrible at it, C. in particular.

I always find myself joking at some point in the middle of summer vacation that not only am I not a camp director, I didn’t even go to summer camp (save for one week of day camp one year when I was nine or ten), so how can I be expected to come up with dozens and dozens (and dozens) of activities designed to keep these kids busy all day?

And speaking of work, I’m a work-at-home mom. I have enough trouble trying to squeeze in my assignments when they are out of the house for seven hours at a time, much less when they are underfoot. But I have to work, because you know what else I don’t like about summer vacation? It costs a lot of money! Sure, there are lots of free or inexpensive things to do, but there are many activities that aren’t so much with the cheap. And even if we stayed home all day, summer just seems to cost more — we eat more food and use more electricity and water and just spend more money. It makes me crazy (and worried).

So yes, summer vacation was approaching and I was pretty grumpy about it.

And then June 25 dawned and our family summer fun began. I’m happy to report that I was completely wrong.

We went to amusement parks, the aquarium, the beach, the zoo and the public pool. Spent a few nights in a hotel or two. Saw lots of fireworks, a magic show and a baseball game. Cheered on the brave knights at Medieval Times. Celebrated the birth of a new cousin. Spent countless hours going for walks and bike rides and at swinging and sliding at the playground. We even survived a hurricane!

But it wasn’t even the activities that made summer so lovely. We’ve just had a great time, spending time together, laughing and making memories. I feel closer to my kids than ever before. They feel it too.

“Mom, this was the best summer vacation ever,” C. told me today. “Thank you.” All I could do was hug him back, the tears welling up in my eyes. How could I have been so mistaken about something so wonderful?

And now, as September 7 inches closer and closer on the calendar, the pit in my stomach is growing deeper and deeper.

How long until their first vacation?

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Carnival Amusement Rides are the Ultimate in Toddler Fun

So yesterday was a good day for Spencer. No, we didn’t go to Disney World or Six Flags as per his usual requests, but he did spend a decent amount of time on some carnival amusement rides.

First off he hit the vehicle ride, which was simply a menagerie of different types of cars, trucks and motorcycles that rotates 360 degrees. Pretty standard as far as carnival amusement rides go, but it’s easy to see why. He loved it. He really liked choosing which type of vehicle he wanted to ride on, socializing with the other kids sitting next to him and of course, the ride itself. He rode on a couple of race cars, including the Batmobile, KITT the Knight Rider car and a Porsche, but by far his favorite to ride on were the motorcycles — he hit them at least three times.

He also got a big kick out of the swings — they simply spun around in a circle, but my little adrenaline junky made them more fun by rocking his swing back and forth as the ride rotated. A bunch of the other kids followed suit, causing Spencer to be scolded by the young teen who was running the ride. The look on the face after the ride operator told him to stop was a riot. Even funnier, was that whenever he was out of sight of the bossy teen, he would continue his naughty behavior. (I mean that wasn’t funny at all. A misbehaving toddler is no laughing matter!)

 Rounding out our day were a some other carnival amusement rides including the merry-go-round, a few carnival games — he won a SpongeBob inflatable paddle ball which he yells “Hi-Ya!” while playing with it and insists is “golf” — and a large ice cream sandwich that he ate in lieu of dinner. Also fun, we were joined by Grandma and Grandpa and Aunt M. and nearly three-month old Baby J.

The hardest part of bringing Spencer to the amusement park was getting him to wait his turn — obviously C. and A. wanted to go on their own, larger rides and while they were having fun he would have to sit in the stroller. Still, he was able to amuse himself with the aforementioned SpongeBob game and just soaking in all the atmosphere.

Leaving all of those fun carnival amusement rides was also a bit of a bummer for him, although he was so wiped by the end of the day, it wasn’t as much as a struggle as I expected. I loaded him into his car seat and he was asleep in minutes (after a quick stop for a real dinner of which he ate nothing). When we got home I brought him upstairs, changed his clothes and his diaper and he remained asleep — something that never, ever happens.

Hmm. Maybe there is something to bringing him to the amusement park every day after all.

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Spencer’s Happy Case of Carnival Mania

I think we may have created a monster. Specifically a tiny, toddlering monster afflicted with a bad case of carnival mania.

Ever since we visited Disney World in May, Spencer has been obsessed with rides. He loves them. We headed to Six Flags about two months ago (home of the original M&M shirt by the way) and his appreciation for all things fast and mechanical has increased exponentially.

At least twice a day he’ll pester me about our lack of exciting plans:

“I go Bugs Bunny house? I go Six Flags? I go Mickey Mouse Clubhouse? I go Disney? I go rides? Mama! I go rides!”

It’s difficult to explain to a two-year-old that neither Disney World or Six Flags is in our budget nor our close geographic region, much less a two-year-old that has an acute case of carnival mania. I feel bad, he gets so upset when I tell him no, but he just simply doesn’t understand.

Yesterday though, I think I may have earned my way back into his good graces. There is a local amusement park that’s about 30 minutes away from us. It’s not as big as the two parks we’ve been to recently, but it’s a decent size and the price is right. We went a few times last summer and Spencer liked it quite a bit, but he was small and only went on one or two rides. This time I decided he was big enough for a “pay one price” bracelet which allowed him to go on as many rides as he wanted.

He was in carnival mania heaven. Heaven I tell you. They have a nice mix of rides for kids and adults of all ages, but most importantly for Spencer, they have a special little kid section. Everything is geared at toddlers 48 inches and under.

The cool thing about this place is that you can see it from the road as you approach it — a big ferris wheel beckoning, advertising to everyone in its sight — “FUN HERE!” He had been cranky the whole car ride and then he spotted the wheel and figured out where we were going. He was thrilled.

And he hadn’t even hit the rides yet.

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Designer Toddler Clothing? Well It Does Have a Brand Name

Ask my kids, and they will tell you under no uncertain terms, that they are NOT spoiled. That there are a host of things that they would like to have and that their rotten parents don’t buy them. Cell phones, XBoxes, laptops, all things that I deprive my children of. You are reading the blog of a very mean mom. Consider yourself warned.

I do make exceptions. There are certain things that I feel are worth it. Quality products that, although they are expensive and might not be necessary, do serve a purpose — even if they are simply designed to entertain our kids. A. has an iPod and three American Girl dolls — two that we purchased for her. C. has an iPod and endless amounts of big (huge) Lego sets. They share a Wii (although C. did buy it with their own money) and the games that go with it, not to mention portable video game systems — DSs and PSPs and other acronyms that I never get correct. We are thinking about buying them Nooks for Christmas (don’t tell them!).

And of course there’s Spencer. While I tend to shop at Old Navy and Children’s Place for the older two, when I want to be extravagant for him, I tend to focus on purchasing designer toddler clothing.

Not really. But I did just go out and spend $60 on four M&M t-shirts, bringing his round candies shirt total to five.

Excessive? Maybe. But I am a desperate woman. And desperate women do desperate things. Like spending over two hours to travel 54 miles to buy my son something that although functional, he could live without. Although my washing machine thanks me.

Spencer has a blue M&M shirt that he adores. He wears it almost every day. If it weren’t for the fact that he’s a toddler and washing something after he’s worn is a requirement, he’d never take it off. Ever.

He’s had the shirt for about two months. It looks like it was a hand-me down from ten years ago. Seriously. It’s pilled and stretched and faded. He doesn’t care. From the second he got it, he has wanted nothing else. It was getting a little ridiculous. So I took action.

Here’s old reliable — his shirt of two months

 The first of the latest in our designer toddler clothing. I’m thinking this one might be his new favorite.

Orange you thinking that I’m adorable?

Trying to match his face to the one on his belly.

So what do you think? Was buying four more M&M shirts realistic or crazy? What type of “designer toddler clothing” do you buy?

Want to learn more about Spencer? Check out Shock and Aww on Facebook and my other parenting blog, We Are Both Right. Also, I’m on Twitter too. (Because I have all this time on my hands.)

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